FanPost

Do NOT underestimate Jason Phillips

  • So I compiled some pre-draft information on Phillips from a few sources, and put it all here for your reading pleasure.  I personally think he is a better prospect than Gooden, and hope we move Gooden for a mid-round pick if we can get one.
    An anchor of one of college football’s premier defenses while at TCU, Phillips is the only player in league history to earn All-Mountain West Conference honors in four consecutive seasons
  • In three of those seasons, he led the team in tackles (and was second the year he didn’t lead the team)
  • Phillips started all 50 games he played, recording 315 tackles (194 solo), 7.5 sacks (-63 yards) and 38 TFL (-131 yards)
  • Also posted 1 FF, 2 INTs and 11 PD during his career
  • Graduated in Dec. 2008 with a degree in criminal justice
  • Appeared on the watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award and Rotary Lombardi Award
  • Started 12 games at MLB, leading the team for the third time in his collegiate career with 84 tackles (57 solo), including a career-high 3.5 sacks (-29 yards) and 13 TFL (-44 yards)
  • Phillips guided a unit that led the nation in total defense (217.8 ypg) and rush defense (47.1 ypg), while also ranking 2nd in scoring defense (11.3 ppg)
  • Recorded double-digit tackles in four games on the season
  • As a junior, he lined up as the starting MLB in all 13 games, leading the team with a career-high 87 tackles (58 solo)
  • Also registered 2 sacks (-20 yards) and 10.5 TFL (-47 yards) en route to earning second-team All-Mountain West Conference accolades
  • A first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection his sophomore season, he started all 13 games at MLB, ranking second on the squad with 73 tackles (38 solo)
  • Added a 9-yard sack and 6 TFL (-22 yards), also posting a FF
  • Spurred the Horned Frogs’ defense, which finished second in the nation in total defense (234.9 ypg) and rush defense (60.9 ypg)
  • Earned second-team Freshmen All-American honors by The Sporting News in 2005, becoming the first freshman defensive player in Mountain West Conference history to earn any All-Mountain West Conference honors (second-team selection)
  • Started 12 games at MLB and led the Horned Frogs with 71 tackles (41 solo), including a 5-yard sack and 8.5 TFL
    (http://www.baltimoreravens.com/People/Players/Under_Contract-Own_Rights/Jason_Phillips.aspx)

 

A closer look at the Ravens' picks: Round 5/137 -- Jason Phillips, ILB, 6-1, 240, Texas Christian...A tackling machine, Phillips stood out for his effort and intelligence. He's not an elite athlete but he will help immediately on special teams. His stock fell when he arrived on his Pro Day on crutches. He tore the meniscus in his knee during position drills at the Scouting Combine. Phillips could compete for a starting job in the future.

Overview

Phillips has been the anchor of one of college football's premier defenses. He is the only player in league history to earn All-Mountain West Conference honors in four consecutive seasons, a testament to the consistency he brings. In three of those seasons, he led the team in tackles and in the year that he didn't the middle linebacker placed second.

The success that the Horned Frogs experienced on defense coincided with Phillips' maturing game. In 2005, the team ranked 25th in the nation in total defense, leading the conference by allowing just 329.08 yards per game. The Horned Frogs again paced the MWC and ranked second in the NCAA in total defense (234.92 ypg) and rush defense (60.85 ypg) while placing third in scoring defense (12.31 ppg) during Phillips' sophomore campaign.

In 2007, Phillips helped the front wall hold the opposition to just 103.46 yards per game on the ground. In his final campaign, the Horned Frogs captured the total defense (217.77 ypg) and rush defense (47.08 ypg) titles while ranking second nationally in scoring defense (11.31 ppg).

Phillips served in a variety of roles during his career at Waller High School. He competed as a quarterback and linebacker, in addition to handling deep snapping chores. The District 18-4A MVP in 2003 was a member of Team USA in the 2004 Global Bowl and was selected to play in the 2004 Bayou Bowl.

Phillips carried 172 times for 1,291 yards and hit on 61 of 138 passes for 1,070 yards as a senior. The two-time team captain also rushed 91 times for 734 yards with nine touchdowns as a junior. In his first varsity season, he was named the District 18-4A Newcomer of the Year in 2001. He also lettered in track, where he was a regional qualifier in the 110 meter hurdles. He graduated with Texas Scholar honors.

Phillips turned down scholarship offers from Texas A&M, Baylor and Houston to enroll at Texas Christian in 2004. He spent that season competing on the scout team as a fullback before moving to middle linebacker in 2005 spring camp. He became the first freshman to earn All-Mountain West Conference honors in 2005, as he was also named the league's Freshman of the Year by College Football News, adding second-team Freshman All-American honors.

That season, he started all 12 games at middle linebacker, leading the team with 71 tackles (41 solos), including a sack and 8.5 stops for loss. The All-MWC first-team pick ranked second on the team with 73 tackles (38 solos) in 2006. He had six stops behind the line of scrimmage, a fumble recovery and his first career interception.

Phillips was named the state of Texas' best linebacker by Dave Campbell, as he captured All-MWC honors for the third consecutive year in 2007. In 13 games in the middle, he led the Horned Frogs with a career-high 87 tackles (58 solos), including 10.5 stops for loss. He picked off a pass and deflected six others while coming up with two sacks.

Phillips added All-MWC first-team honors as a senior. That year, Dave Campbell elevated his assessment of the TCU middle linebacker, rating him the best defensive player in the state. He did not disappoint, as he again led the team with 84 tackles (57 solos). He ranked fourth in the conference with 13.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage and also chipped in with 3.5 sacks in 12 games, sitting out the Stephen F. Austin clash with a knee sprain.

Analysis

Positives: Has the size to play inside, probably in a 3-4 scheme, and should continue to gain mass and develop in the upper body. … Avoids blocks from guards in trash to reach the ballcarrier, but is also physical enough to punch linemen and maintain his gap. … Very tough and won't back down from anyone. … Aggressive, instinctual player with the straight-line speed to attack plays behind the line of scrimmage. … Adequate drop and good awareness in coverage, reads the eyes of the quarterback and anticipates receivers' routes well. … Secure tackler, has the length to wrap up and strength to bring the man down. … Was a long snapper in high school.

Negatives: Mostly a grab-and-drag tackler. … Better when the play is in front of him, as he lacks great lateral movement and struggles to change direction in space. … He often reads the play correctly but is a step slow to break down or react against faster players, leading to lunging and shoestring tackles that won't be made at the next level. … Can be effective as a blitzer, but is not explosive and will whiff. … His aggressiveness sometimes causes him to leave his gap responsibility, and he does not have the quickness to recover.

Compares To: MONTY BEISEL, Kansas City -- Like Beisel, Phillips has very good speed and football intelligence, but does not have that classic explosive tackling ability you look for in a middle linebacker. He might be a better fit in a 3-4 alignment, where he can stay mostly on gap responsibilities, as he does get out of control too much when having to generate a long pursuit. Unless he can improve his overall strength to match with his impressive quickness, he might join Beisel as a reserve instead of being starting material.

Scouting Report

GENERAL REPORT: GRADE: 6.1

Body Structure: Phillips does not have a well-built frame, as he appears fleshy but he has good chest and arm thickness, big thighs and calves, but lacks a great wingspan (30 1/4-inch arm length). He does have a bone structure that will allow him to carry at least another 15 pounds of bulk. He also displays impressive quickness for a player with such an un-athletic frame.

Athletic Ability: Phillips has very good straight-line speed, keeping his pads low to fire off the snap and gain advantage in attempts to push back the lead blocker. He is a little tight in his hips when trying to turn and recover vs. the cutback runs, but explodes behind his tackles and makes up for that hip tightness with above average quickness. He shows good body control and balance working through trash. GRADE: 6.2

Football Sense: Phillips has made good strides reading and reacting to the action in front of him. Because of size limitations, he sometimes gets caught up in the pile, but is quick to close once he locates the ball. He is quick to react to keys, but is the type who will get out of control and outrun plays, causing him to revert to lunging in attempts to get back in the action. He makes good field adjustments and flows to the play well when given room to operate. When he guesses, he will get caught in the flow of traffic and will end up delivering just shoestring tackles. He makes proper calls and reads when attacking over the center and shows good urgency to close on the ball. GRADE: 6.2

Character: Phillips is a good character who leads by example. He puts in extra hours in the film room and worked hard during the off-season to improve his overall strength. He is not really a vocal type, but will not hesitate to take a teammate to task over lethargic performances. He gets good family support and has no known off-field issues. He does well in the classroom and takes well to hard coaching. GRADE: 6.3

Competitiveness: Phillips plays until the whistle and you will never see him throttle down when not involved in the play. He does a good job of making calls, but will play with some reckless abandon. You would prefer that he makes solid tackles rather than attacking the ball, but is usually a decent tackler who plays as if he has a chip on his shoulder. He can also handle long snapping duties in a pinch. GRADE: 6.0

Work Habits: Phillips is a good program player because he knows his role with the team and will undertake whatever task the coaches place before him. He studies film, works hard in practice and is a self-starter in the training room. He is a solid team leader and good presence in the locker room, with the experience to play either in a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive scheme. He takes well to hard coaching and knows what the task at hand is before stepping on to the field. GRADE: 6.0

ATHLETIC REPORT: GRADE: 5.92

Key and Diagnostic Skills: At times, Phillips is a little slow locating the ball in traffic. He gets better success when he takes good angles when closing to compensate for a lack of good lateral agility. He looks quicker than his impressive time speed indicates when he sees the play develop. He has good instincts to close on the ball, especially on outside plays, but when working through trash he is still a work in progress to read inside blocking schemes and must use his hands better to defeat cut blocks. He generally plays in control and shows good urgency closing on plays in front of him. He showed in 2008 that he is capable of seeing the offensive guards and counter plays well. With his tremendous effort, he will do whatever it takes to try to get to the ball and has pretty good success. GRADE: 6.6

Playing Strength and Explosion: Phillips improved his strength before the 2008 season, but his frame could carry another 15 pounds of bulk to generate more power behind his hits. He has shorter than ideal arms, so he needs to generate a strong hand punch to jolt before the linemen can latch on to his body (struggles to shed). He has good lower body power to drive back the runner's body lean. He lacks the bulk to hold up vs. combo blocks and is not slippery enough in attempts to escape. His hand strength lets him shed smaller blockers effectively and he stays low in his pads to leverage at the point of attack. GRADE: 5.7

Lateral Pursuit/Range: Phillips is a little tight in his hips, but shows a good straight-ahead charge to the ball. He takes a few false steps when changing direction, but has the closing speed to compensate. When he overruns a play, he lacks the functional body control and balance to recover and will revert to lunging or taking shoestring tackles. He reads the flow of the ball well and is productive when he keeps plays in front of him. He gets a good jump on the ball because of his instincts and his speed allows him to make plays along the line, but he does not have the range to be effective running to the perimeter (has better vision working inside). GRADE: 5.7

Use of Hands: Because of his shorter arms and small hands, Phillips can be contained when a big lineman latches on to his jersey. He does not have the long hand reach to separate and shed and must keep his shoulders square and come up with his hands quickly in order to shock and jolt. He is effective using those hands to press and reroute tight ends and backs in the short-area passing game. He just doesn't have the reach to stand and battle through trash at the line of scrimmage. He is consistent at generating a punch to knock the receiver off the route. He showed good improvement in 2008 keeping blockers off his body, but often reverts to grabbing and dragging down runners instead of positioning to wrap and secure, leading to costly missed blocks. GRADE: 5.5

Tackling Ability: This is one of his strongest areas. He is an explosive hitter who does a nice job of breaking down to wrap and secure. But he only does this when he is able to attain position, as he will get a step behind speedy opponents and leave his feet and lunge in attempts to make the play. He also gets too aggressive trying to make the sensational hit and this will result in him forgetting about his gap responsibilities. Usually, he is an above average tackler working at the line of scrimmage. He shows that he can explode through his tackles and has the ability to break down and make plays in front of him. He will hit and wrap with good pop, displaying good form when tackling, but with more bulk he could be even more effective tackling in-line and hitting through the holes. GRADE: 6.4

Run Defense: Phillips is more of a classic 4-3 linebacker, as he is slippery through a crowd and stays low in his pads to clog up the inside rush lanes. He has the speed to close and string out plays, but needs to be more active with his hands in attempts to shed. He could play Sam linebacker in a 3-4 alignment because of his ability to avoid traffic, but tends to get out of control more when pursuing along the perimeter than when he is handling gap assignments. With additional bulk, he could develop into an effective inside-the-box player. Even with some hip stiffness, he can really run and close on the pocket when he gets gap penetration. GRADE: 6.3

Pass Defense: Phillips has the speed to mirror tight ends and backs in the short passing game. He is a little stiff in his pass drops (hips), but shows decent zone awareness to keep plays in front of him. He has the playing speed to drop back into the deep secondary, but is best when using his hand punch to reroute underneath. He is quick to react to the receiver coming out of the backfield and does a nice job of reading fakes, but his slow turn out of his breaks posses some problems in man coverage on long routes. GRADE: 5.8

Zone Defense: When Phillips locates the ball, he is quick to close. But when working through traffic, he can get caught up in the pile. He sees the quarterback much better when playing in the second level than inside the box. He needs to open his hips quicker in his pass drops, especially when setting up in the zone. He just looks more comfortable vs. plays in front of him. He is effective breaking down and covering plays in the short area zone rather than when asked to turn and run with his man. GRADE: 5.4

Pass Rush and Blitz: Phillips's speed is evident when asked to blitz coming off the edge. He gets tied up some when trying to attack over the middle of the line and is used more to read and react rather than generate pressure in the backfield. He has a good burst to close on the quarterback during limited opportunities to pressure. He just struggles to shed when blitzing. When given a free lane, you can see his speed and acceleration through the holes. He could be a nice fit outside in a 3-4 alignment, as he is better blitzing through the gaps than when playing on the edge. GRADE: 5.9

Compares To: MONTY BEISEL, Kansas City -- Like Beisel, Phillips has very good speed and football intelligence, but does not have that classic explosive tackling ability you look for in a middle linebacker. He might be a better fit in a 3-4 alignment, where he can stay mostly on gap responsibilities, as he does get out of control too much when having to generate a long pursuit. Unless he can improve his overall strength to match with his impressive quickness, he might join Beisel as a reserve instead of being starting material.

OVERALL GRADE: 5.96

(http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/530198)

 

From a fans perspective:

EDITORIAL NOTE: Jason tore the meniscus in his left knee at the combine.

Im starting to look at linebackers and i figured i would start with the "not first rounders". Rey Mauluga and James Laurinatus appear to be a reach at 8 but a lock for the first round. Jason Phillips is Mike Mayock's number 3 ILB, but he has recently been injured so the scenario where he falls to us in the third is more likely to happen. So despite the lack of immediate need, i introduce to you...Jason Phillips.

Jason Phillips By The Numbers

  • Height 6'1"
  • Weight 239 lbs
  • 40 yd dash 4.60
  • Vertical Jump 34"
  •  Broad Jump 10'00"
  • Benched 225 x 20
  • 2007 numbers (13 games): 61 Solo, 87 TT, 11 TFL, 2 Sacks, 2 INT, 6 PBU, 0 QB Hurries
  • 2008 numbers (12 games): 57 Solo, 84 TT, 13 TFL, 3.5 Sacks, 0 INT, 2 PBU, 2 QB Hurries
  •  

    Star-divide

    Notable Quotables

    Scout.com did an interview with Jason after he finished his last game, a Poinsettia Bowl victory over Ian Johnson's Boise State. In the interview, Phillips spoke about what he wanted to do at the combine, agility, and how he wants to go to a cold weather team.

    "The combine is just another chance for me to show that I’ve got straight on speed as far as the forty -yard dash goes and that I can move side to side, as well as cover one –on-one," he said. "Those are some of the things that scouts have been iffy about with me. But I’m just going to go and showcase my skills."

    "People know that I’m strong and tough, but I want to show everyone that I’ve got the agility to play linebacker at the next level," he said."I’m a big fan of cold weather," he said.

    "I would love to go anywhere up north like Green Bay, Minnesota or Chicago. I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and I’m so tired of the heat. But to be honest with you I will go anywhere. Anyone who wants me, I will go there and showcase what I can do."

    Scouting Report Positives

    War Room Report: Good size with solid bulk...really physical and aggressive...productive team leader...shows great awareness...physical hitter who is also a solid wrap up tackler...offers some scheme versatility...can handle zone coverage assignments...plays with a nasty demeanor and is not afraid of contact...decent top end speed...

    NFL.com: Has the size to play inside, probably in a 3-4 scheme, and should continue to gain mass and develop in the upper body. ... Avoids blocks from guards in trash to reach the ballcarrier, but is also physical enough to punch linemen and maintain his gap. ... Very tough and won't back down from anyone. ... Aggressive, instinctual player with the straight-line speed to attack plays behind the line of scrimmage. ... Adequate drop and good awareness in coverage, reads the eyes of the quarterback and anticipates receivers' routes well. ... Secure tackler, has the length to wrap up and strength to bring the man down. ... Was a long snapper in high school.

    Scouting Report Negatives

    War Room Report: Not an elite natural athlete...a bit stiff through the hips...does not have great lateral range...does not offer much as a blitzer...sometimes he is a bit too aggressive...lacks the quickness in short space to guard man to man...lacks sideline to sideline range...a true "thumper"…suffered a knee injury at the combine that may knock him back some…

    NFL.com: Mostly a grab-and-drag tackler. ... Better when the play is in front of him, as he lacks great lateral movement and struggles to change direction in space. ... He often reads the play correctly but is a step slow to break down or react against faster players, leading to lunging and shoestring tackles that won't be made at the next level. ... Can be effective as a blitzer, but is not explosive and will whiff. ... His aggressiveness sometimes causes him to leave his gap responsibility, and he does not have the quickness to recover.

    Interesting Tidbits

    OU Insider's outlook on Phillips: "Phillips, TCU's top tackler with 87 stops, is a preseason All-American. Dave Campbell's Texas Football has tabbed him as the state's 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. He appeared on watch lists last season for the Rotary Lombardi Award and Dick Butkus Award as well as being named the state's Best Linebacker by Dave Campbell's. A native of Waller, Texas, Phillips has started all 38 games the last three seasons with his 231 career tackles the best among active Frogs."

    Bleacher Report on Jason Phillips and the TCU Defense he played in: "The TCU defense plays a manipulated 4-3, but instead of using a true defensive end, they use a smaller and faster player who can get a quick speed rush off the edge. They also use their strong safeties as both a strategic outside linebacker and a "rover" safety. Their rover is physical like a linebacker but can also match up with wide receivers and tight ends in pass coverages. Linebackers are their strength. They only have two true linebackers. I haven’t seen a pair play as physical and emotional as these two. No. 39 Phillips plays smarter of the two and is good at slipping blockers in open space and still being able to make a play on the ball. He also does a good job in his zone drops, finding the receivers near him and making a play on the ball."

    Star Telegram talks about interviews and projection while delivering a great quote: Phillips has interviewed with Dallas, Arizona, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Oakland and Carolina, among others, while at the NFL Scouting Combine. Ranked among the top 10 players at his position, Phillips is expected to be a fourth-round pick."They’re going to get a tough, smart, dedicated, coachable, hard-working player," Phillips said. "Everything about me they’ve heard is true. I’m going to come in; I’m going to work hard; I’m going to be coachable. Everything they tell me is going to stick. I’m going to learn it quick."

    Update

    Everything sounds great about the guy, especially the later round consideration. I saw a mock that had the Jags taking him in the second round. This was in January. Why the drop? He is currently on crutches.

    Gil Brandt reports: LB Jason Phillips revealed at TCU’s pro day Friday morning that he has a torn meniscus in his left knee, an injury that he believes he suffered at the scouting combine last month. Phillips, who underwent surgery on Wednesday, is expected to be on crutches for the next eight weeks and in rehabilitation for another four weeks. That takes him well beyond the draft and into minicamps, but he should be ready for training camp. Phillips’ numbers at the combine were exceptional, so it shouldn’t affect his standing too much in the draft. In Indianapolis two weeks ago, he ran the fifth-fastest 40-yard dash (4.69 seconds), was sixth in the broad jump (10-0) and finished eighth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.32 seconds). Phillips is the No. 3 inside linebacker on Mike Mayock’s list of top draft prospects.

    (http://www.bigcatcountry.com/2009/3/19/803372/better-know-a-draft-prospe)

    The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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